Philadelphia Flyers

Angry Bryzgalov refutes reports, blasts media

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Angry Bryzgalov refutes reports, blasts media

Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov doesn’t often get very angry with reporters.

But he let off some steam Thursday night after a 3-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators (see game recap).

His anger was directed at some media outlets who reported he had fallen asleep during a team meeting and was subsequently benched in favor of Steve Mason, who started Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the Islanders.

Bryzgalov was asked whether the last couple of days have been hard on him.

“You know guys, to be honest, I don’t know where you get this information,” Bryzgalov replied. “Be honest, did you read yourself what you wrote? That’s embarrassing. You have to prove your sources.

“That was never happening. You became not professional journalist. It’s embarrassing, seriously. You’ve got to do your job better.

“I’m only pointing at guys who were involved in this because it’s really embarrassing and you have to be better. Step up, guys. Prove your information, find a reliable source.”

Ironically, the story broke on 97.5 The Fanatic -- which happens to be the Flyers' very own flagship radio station.

A number of Flyers were quoted on the record insisting Bryzgalov never fell asleep, as were others quoted anonymously. The Daily News backed The Fanatic’s report, quoting its own sources.

Loose pucks
Flyers forward Adam Hall was 12 for 18 on faceoffs, which is his highest total of faceoffs taken and the highest number won in 40 games this season. ... The Flyers have just two shorthanded goals this season. Giroux’s in this game and Max Talbot had the other. … Colin Greening’s power-play goal for the game winner snapped a Flyers' streak of four consecutive games without allowing a power-play goal. The Flyers had killed off eight straight power plays over four games and the first four Thursday before that goal. ... Bryzgalov played very well, giving up just two goals on 33 shots.

NHL Notes: Oilers sign star Leon Draisaitl to mega 8-year contract

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NHL Notes: Oilers sign star Leon Draisaitl to mega 8-year contract

EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers have signed center Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year contract extension with an average annual value of $8.5 million.

The extension runs through the 2024-25 season, similar to the eight-year, $100-million extension superstar captain Connor McDavid signed with the team in July.

With the signings, the Oilers are banking on McDavid and Draisaitl providing a potent one-two punch for the team as it looks to build on last season's return to the playoffs after a decade of futility.

Draisaitl, a 21-year-old German, had 77 points (29 goals, 48 assists) last season, his third in the NHL.

He finished eighth among NHL scorers, and second on the Oilers behind McDavid.

He led the Oilers in scoring during the 2017 playoffs, posting 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 13 games.

Draisaitl was selected third overall by the Oilers at the 2015 draft (see full story).

Avalanche: Hobey Baker winner Butcher now free agent
College hockey's top player is an NHL free agent after former University of Denver defenseman Will Butcher allowed a deadline to pass without signing with the Colorado Avalanche.

The Avalanche selected Butcher in the fifth round of the 2013 draft and had until Tuesday to sign the Hobey Baker Award winner who led Denver to a national championship in April.

A person with direct knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Butcher already has had discussions with the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and NHL-expansion Vegas Golden Knights. The person said Butcher has not yet narrowed his list, and is also talking with other teams.

The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the talks are private.

The Denver Post first reported the three specific teams expressing interest in Butcher (see full story).

Wild: Cullen comes home for 21st NHL season
The Minnesota Wild and center Matt Cullen have agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract, bringing him back to his home state for a 21st season in the NHL.

The Wild announced the deal, which includes $700,000 in potential performance bonuses, on Wednesday.

Cullen played the last two years with Pittsburgh, winning consecutive Stanley Cups with the Penguins. He played three seasons for the Wild from 2010-13, his first return to Minnesota since launching his career at Moorhead High School and St. Cloud State.

Cullen, who will turn 41 on Nov. 2, had 13 goals and 18 assists in 72 games in 2016-17 for the Penguins, plus two goals and seven assists in 25 playoff games. He has played in 1,366 career regular season games, the sixth-most among active players (see full story).

ESPN analyst ranks Flyers' farm system No. 1 in NHL

ESPN analyst ranks Flyers' farm system No. 1 in NHL

Ron Hextall never told fans to "trust the process," but apparently any faith in the Flyers' GM has been vindicated.

At least that's the case if you believe ESPN NHL writer Corey Pronman's latest farm system rankings (it's an Insider story, so apologies in advance). Pronman has the Flyers' farm ranked as No. 1 in the NHL. 

"The Flyers don't have as much game-breaking talent as our No. 2 team (Coyotes) does at the top of their system," Pronman writes, "but 2017 No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick is right up there; after Patrick, the Flyers have the cupboards lined with talent at every position."

Pronman credits the Flyers with nailing his first-round picks (Patrick, Ivan Provorov), grabbing middle-round prospects that have blossomed (Shayne Gostisbehere, Oskar Lindblom) and specifically mentions Phil Myers, an undrafted defenseman that has become "one of the very best defense prospects in hockey."

For so long, the Flyers' organization was perpetually in "win-now mode," but the late Ed Snider hired Hextall away from the Kings and eventually made him GM, knowing that Hexy was taking a broader view of the organization. Instead of trading away young talent and draft picks for aging veterans, Hextall restocked a dreadful farm system to get the team where it is today.

"Not too long ago, the Flyers' farm system was a laughingstock, with C-grade college free agents making it into their top five," Pronman said. "Today, they are in the best position of any NHL team in terms of adding young premium players to their roster."